My church here has a retreat of sorts for new believers called Encounter God Retreat. To lead a life group, you have to have attended an EGR. Several reasons, 1 so the rules are the same for everyone 2, so every new believer learns some import things and has a deep encounter with God. I me not exactly a new believer so why did I need to attend? Because it is good for me to see how the church works and to see how God uses these retreats.
Confession: I didn’t want to go. I was feeling a bit grumpy about it, but I also felt God clearly telling me to so I went.
I invited 3 people to join me, and they said yes. Typically as a youth worker, I plant a lot of seeds, but I don’t often get to be there when the person makes a decision to follow Jesus but this time God blessed me by letting me be there and a part of that particular moment. Right there, it was worth going, before the retreat even began. I obeyed, and God showed up in a big way!
The retreat was intense for an introvert like me, but I survived and grew closer to God through the experience. I also made a new friend and bonded with the 3 who attended with me.
The following weekend I was about to pray for someone at the Waray Waray retreat. The very end of the retreat I watched as bemused husband moved chairs as their middle-aged wives pulled all of the participants into what amounted to a mosh pit for God. It was amazing to stand back and watch all that was going around on around me. I couldn’t understand anything anyone was saying, but I got the message. These people were connecting and rejoicing of their love for God in a big big way!
Our teacher’s life group has restarted after a false start, but we are all committed to being a group and growing in our faith together.
Some have asked me what is different this year from last year. I would have to say it is the friendships. This year I am not trying to make friends, I have them. The Chinese teachers and I are really growing close, and this week when I was unwell, one of the teachers brought me chicken soup. I miss home, but at the same time, I am home. I see God at work and see how he uses me, and I am blown away by how blessed I am.
Candy and I are both under the weather today, and so the three of us decided to do church at home tonight. I think we will sing some and watch a video about the Passion and the Prophecy then have a good talk. It is still strange to live so closely to others and yet it has also become more comfortable.
The three of us along with 2 Filipino friends went on an adventure our first road trip without any Varberg’s along for protection or guidance. I was responsible for getting us there, and I was responsible for getting us home. We went to the place where you can take the put-put boat around the little islands. (Yes Dad, I wore the life jacket you gave me. Surprised the guy trying to get me to put on one of their life jackets anyway. Someone had to explain my fancy one to him.)
The week before break was Spiritual emphasis week; with a day of suspended classes for both the elementary and the high school. Instead, we had activities, VBS style, with a theme of Identity. Our theme song was, Hello my Name is… The kids really enjoyedit and my homeroom really connected with the song because I have used it with them for weeks. Making them sing it or write it when they say negative things about themselves. During the high school day I shared my testimony about identity and how God changed my name from stupid to smart. Several kids come up to me later to talk more about it.
Will add a photo slide show with pictures from some of the events I mentioned.